Reliability of Infrared Thermometric Measurements of Skin Temperature in the Hand
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STUDY DESIGN: Clinical measurement study. INTRODUCTION: Skin temperature asymmetries (STAs) are used in the diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), but little evidence exists for reliability of the equipment and methods. PURPOSE: This study examined the reliability of an inexpensive infrared (IR) thermometer and measurement points in the hand for the study of STA. METHODS: ST was measured three times at five points on both hands with an IR thermometer by two raters in 20 volunteers (12 normals and 8 CRPS). RESULTS: ST measurement results using IR thermometers support inter-rater reliability: intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) estimate for single measures 0.80; all ST measurement points were also highly reliable (ICC single measures, 0.83-0.91). CONCLUSIONS: The equipment demonstrated excellent reliability, with little difference in the reliability of the five measurement sites. These preliminary findings support their use in future CRPS research. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Not applicable.
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